Carlos Cardoza’s spent nearly twenty years hunting for mantiques at flea markets, eBay, antiques shops and garage sales to outfit his Mid-century Modern home in Dallas. His attention to detail has landed his house on HGTV and multiple newspaper and magazine spreads. The best part: He uses every single square foot of the home. The collection is not in his way and makes his life better for one reason or another.

“I love using my things,” Cardoza says. “If I can’t use it, then I don’t buy it.”

Mid-Century Modern home entrance

The front entrance to a mid-century dream home. 

Cardoza doesn’t collect antiques. He collects great 20th century design. His custom-built 1954 home is the largest item in his collection. It is in fused with Modernism, Contemporary, Post Modern and Space Age finds great and small. Much of it is influenced by his upper middle class upbringing smack dab in the 1950s — a busy design decade eager to shrug off a depressing world war, while diving headfirst into rebellion and affluence.

Mid-Century Modern living

Living with great art is easy when you’re an artist. Cardoza’s own painting hangs above a red Paul McCobb sofa with original brass frame, a Corona chair and ottoman designed by Poul Vother circa 1958-1960, and a Noguchi coffee table. The lamp is an iconic Triennale floor lamp by Arredoluce of Monza, Italy. The circa 1950s masterpiece is made of chromed-plated brass, enameled steel, and aluminum, and can be found at auction for $7,000 to $12,000.

He effortlessly combines all of his finds into a mid-century showcase that spans 60 years worth of design. He even kept his iMac G4 from 2002, Apple’s hemispherical flower pot-style personal computer.

His collection includes a stunning 1958 Glass Magic Playmaster boat with large fins, which he’s been known to tow with his pink, 1960 Cadillac Series 62. In his dining room hangs a 1942 leg splint designed by Charles and Ray Eames

Mid-Century Modern dining room

A George Nelson flying saucer pendant hanging light accompanies a set of six Cone chairs by Verner Panton. The sculpture in the corner of the room is an authentic molded plywood leg splint as designed by Charles and Ray Eames for soldiers during World War II. The ability to mold plywood led to innovative furniture design.

“This was the first molded plywood piece designed by the Eameses during World War II. The splint was the start of that design process and from this came the famous furniture designs,” Cardoza says.

The splint hangs in a corner next to a table surrounded by a set of Cone chairs from 1959, as produced by designer Verner Panton in 1958. A collector like Cardoza looks for furniture that’s cool and collected but practical and unexpected. Remember, the table you can’t set a drink on belongs at Grandma’s.

Mid-Century Modern Living

Bookended by a George Nelson for Howard Miller vintage ball clock and a George Nelson cigar lamp, hangs another one of Cardoza’s original paintings. On the table next to the platform sofa is an Ericofon by Ericsson Co. valued at about $100. The lime green chair to the far left is a George Nelson Coconut Lounge Chair, circa 1955, valued at about $2,000.

Mid-Century Modern Kitchen

The kitchen retains most of its original cupboards and 1950s pink appliances, but Cardoza installed a stainless steel backsplash. The home’s bar — an iconic design addition for the era — is stocked with cocktail glasses and trays found at garage sales and on eBay. 

Mid-Century Modern bathroom

The bathroom is a mid-century turquoise wonder, with tile accent walls, dual sinks, and an overall memorable, retro look. There is also a turquoise-colored radio on the counter, perfect for listening to Andy Williams’ 'Moon River' while freshening up.  

Mid-Century Modern bedroom

A large master bedroom suite at the rear of the house overlooks the swimming pool. Almost every room opens to the covered lanai and terraced decks, with views of the pool. The north lawn features a private deck just off the dining area, well suited for relaxing with friends and a tray of martinis.

Mid-Century Modern pool

 Harry Bertoia chairs are grouped around a 1960s-era metal patio umbrella near the home’s classic kidney-shaped pool. Instead of mundane fountain or waterfall, Cardoza built a custom base for an 8-foot concrete advertising figure of Big Boy, mascot of the famous restaurant chain.

Mid-Century Modern home

The stunning 1960 pink Cadillac Series 62 parked in front of Cardoza’s home was originally beige when he bought it. He had it painted because, well, a beige Caddy just doesn’t work in a Mod world. 

This story is excerpted from Mantiques: A Manly Guide to Cool Stuff (Krause Publications) by Eric Bradley and is used by permission of the author.

This story is excerpted from Mantiques: A Manly Guide to Cool Stuff (Krause Publications) by Eric Bradley and is used by permission of the author.

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